Panic at the pub

     (Okay, before the pub!)
     You’re expecting a pub quiz recap, right? Well neither I nor you, I’m sure, expected the drama that preceded it.
     Oh, I made it to D.C. fine for the National History Bee and Bowl, despite my plane leaving Grand Island an hour late. I got to my hotel fine, only to discover that the only free wifi is in their lobby, and wifi in the room costs $12.95 for 24 hours. I brushed my teeth even though I forgot toothpaste. (The hotel had it free.) I even managed to avoid a heart attack when I thought I didn’t have the whole cord to my netbook.
      Before I had the netbook out, I somewhat idly looked at the pub quiz page of the History Bowl site and noticed…the time had changed, to a half-hour earlier! I don’t know when this change was made, but it couldn’t have been very long ago. This was a crisis because someone was picking me up, and I didn’t know how to reach him in a pinch. More on that later.
      I wasn’t at last year’s quiz, but I heard about it. I suspect last year’s quiz was better-attended and maybe the competition a little more serious. But we had 2011 ToCers who I don’t think were there last year: John Krizel and Jay Rhee. I was delighted to see them both! And I know at least John will be around tomorrow. I knew Jay lived near D.C. but not John. I have a picture with them, but I have to get it from a certain Drew Scheeler, who is unable to get it to me right now because he doesn’t have Internet access. Here’s a picture of them playing, for now. I hope these pictures are acceptable. I can hardly see them – My screen is inexplicably, extremely dim. I can’t even make everybody out. Every once in a while the screen lights up like the yard in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, but it doesn’t last. Suggestions are welcome, but please don’t tell me to try plugging it in – I did that.
     I know that’s David Madden at the podium, John is facing us, and Jeopardy! contestant Andy Gefen is on the left. Jay is on the right side of the table, and that’s his wife Kimberly with her back to us.

     By the way, it was Andy Gefen who saved the day for me. I both e-mailed him and sent him a private message via the Jeopardy! message boards. I knew he was coming to the quiz, and more to the point, he is, like Brian O’Donnell, a moderator on the boards. Brian and I were gonna go to the quiz together. Now, I could’ve made it on time, but that would’ve left Brian coming to pick me up after I was long gone, and he’d have had no idea. Instead I had to track down Brian. He had my number but I didn’t have his, and time was of the essence. Check out everything I tried on Twitter, to make a long story a little shorter! It turns out Andy didn’t know the time had changed either. He gave me a phone number for Brian that didn’t work at first, but in desperation I tried again – and it worked. As it turns out, everyone else must’ve thought it started at 8, too: People filtered in slowly, and the quiz didn’t start til well after 8.
     Drew was my teammate tonight at the quiz, as was Brian and a guy named Jeff. Here we are, minus Jeff:

     Before the quiz, Drew took great pleasure in showing us from his phone, clips of himself on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. We also had fun dishing about members of the Jeopardy! message boards – those that are controversial, those we’d like to meet, etc.
     Now, I usually don’t like when I’m part of a big room – or for that matter a small room – where everyone has to introduce themselves, but tonight it came in handy (even though I’m not sure who “Jeff” is; sorry!). I of course got to say I was on Jeopardy! last month, and that I write a blog about the show. 😉 John was in front of me, so I noticed he clapped. That made me feel great. You may recall he writes a blog of his own, by the way.
     I wondered how Roger Craig was going to introduce himself, since he needs no introduction in that room. It’s hard to believe he had a bit of a hard tme finding a team! And spoiler alert: His team won in the end, I believe. Second-place went to the Krizel/Rhee table. We held our own though. Drew, I already knew, is super-smart.
     Anyway Roger introduced himself as a “one-time Jeopardy! loser.” John had said he was a two-time Jeopardy! loser! Jay said he was “unemployed and living with his parents.” Highly unlikely! Here’s a picture of, from left to right, Drew, Brian, me, Raynell Cooper, Roger, and David. (Hey, I finally got my picture with him!)

     And here’s a picture of David’s fiancee and his mother:

     Some of the topics were: clues with either “David” or “Madden” in them, presidential trivia, ancient history, Australia, and states. David had faked out even Drew when he said there was a category devoted to The War of Bavarian Succession. (Turns out the topic was World War II.) We were 9/10 in the David Madden category, only missing Calvin Johnson. (We went with my guess of Ndamukong Suh because he is the only Detroit Lion I knew.)
     Funny story: People were talking about a question that was not part of this quiz. Nick, one of David’s staff, said “What’s the answer?” and David said, “That’s right!” (He thought Nick said “Westminster.” 🙂
     Tomorrow, Jeopardy! contestants, win or lose, can participate in their own bee. Drew, smart though he is, said to Roger he was gonna “smack him down.” (That is, if Roger’s participating!) I said to Drew, “Are you crazy?” and I may have imagined it, but Roger looked very confident to me!
     Also happening tomorrow: my probable highlight, the Jeopardy! panel discussion. Unfortunately there’s only one this year, and it’s only a half an hour! I’m gonna try my hardest to record it for you. I’m also looking forward to seeing Preston Nicholson, Justin Sausville, Bob Harris, Jerome Vered, and hopefully Bill MacDonald.
     To my great surprise, I was able to watch the 4-26 Jeopardy!, albeit on my netbook in the lobby of my hotel!  My Coryat was 20400, which is better than some days when I have fewer distractions!